US land drilling increases, Gulf of Mexico activity dips

There were 1,107 rotary rigs working this week, 19 more than the previous week and up sharply from 815 a year ago, officials at Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday.

Land operations accounted for all of the latest increase. There were 940 land rigs drilling in the US this week, 20 more than last week. Inland barge rigs were down by 1 to 22.

Natural gas is still driving the domestic drilling market. Of the rotary rigs working in the US and its waters this week, 862 were drilling for gas, said Baker Hughes officials.

Texas led the activity with 420 rigs working, up 16 from the previous week. Louisiana reported 213 rigs this week, an addition of 2. Oklahoma and New Mexico each had one more rig active this week, putting their rig counts at 132 and 68, respectively. Wyoming was down 3 to 51.

Canada had 456 rotary rigs working this week, 47 more than the previous week and up from 450 a year ago.

Offshore drilling activity declined slightly around the globe. Offshore Data Services Inc. in Houston said the number of mobile offshore rigs under contract in the Gulf of Mexico dipped to 181 this week, with 1 more rig added to the available fleet for a total 207. That cut the utilization rate among gulf rigs to 87.4%, down from 88.3% the previous week.

There were 87 mobile offshore rigs under contract in European waters, 1 fewer than last week, while the total number of rigs available in that market was unchanged at 101. That put the utilization rate at 86.1% in those waters, down from 87.1% last week.

Worldwide, a total 560 mobile offshore rigs were contracted this week, a net decrease of 4 out of an available fleet of 647. Global utilization dipped to 86.6% from 87.2% last week.

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